Atlanta Contemporary and Dance Canvas are partnering on a new initiative that provides time and space to dance artists in metro Atlanta.

Both organizations are strong believers in the power of art and the strength of artists’ voices to heal, make commentary, lift spirits, inspire hope, and demand change. Through this new residency program, Atlanta Contemporary and Dance Canvas offer resources and a platform for the creation and presentation of works in a response to both COVID-19 shutdowns and the continued need to address racism and inequality in our communities. The residency serves as a creative outlet for dance artists while supporting and amplifying diverse voices.

The select choreographers begin their residency at Atlanta Contemporary on Monday, July 27th, and will create work on-site in the Pavilion. “This residency will hopefully offer our choreographers a sense of creative renewal after spending the past few months inside and away from artistic endeavors,” says Angela Harris, Executive Artistic Director of Dance Canvas. “We are thankful to Atlanta Contemporary for extending this opportunity, and we are looking forward to working with each artist during their workshopping process. All of the selected choreographers have such different experiences to bring to their work. I am looking forward to seeing their pieces come to life.”

To accommodate the safety of the artists and to be mindful of social distancing practices, solos and duets will be created. The artists will present two performances of their work in August and September. Due to social distancing requirements, the performances will be live streamed. Both organizations hope to be able to welcome a small live audience by the September dates.

“Every Summer, Dance Canvas’ DC NEXT students visit Atlanta Contemporary and create choreography in response to what they see and experience,” explains Veronica Kessenich, Executive Director of Atlanta Contemporary. “Due to COVID-19, this could not and would not occur. Yet, as we know, art – in all its forms – does not cease to exist. It is our hope that this residency supports the fact that art is essential, and it can be safely crafted and presented.”

2020 Resident Choreographers:

Jessica Bertram - Dancer/Choreographer; Graduate of Emory University

Perlizbeth De Leon - North Carolina Dance Project (Recent Choreography Residency)

Xavier Demar - Artist's Sandbox (NYC); Instructor/Choreographer (ATL, NYC)

Xavier Lewis - Educator/Choreographer (Dance Director at Grayson High School)

Tamara Irving - Disney's The Lion King - US National Tour & Germany

Danielle Swatzie - I.L.L. Artist in Residence: T.Lang Dance; Graduate of University of the Arts

Thulani Vereen - Graduate of Spelman College/Spelman Dance Theatre

Nadya Zeitlin - Founder, Bautanzt Here


Dance Canvas

Dance Canvas, Inc. is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization, incorporated in the City of Atlanta in 2008 with a mission to provide opportunities and venues to increase the awareness of professional dance in Atlanta. We achieve our mission through three program areas of service:

Choreographer Career Development, Youth Leadership Development, & Audience Engagement. Visit to learn more.


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Upcoming Events

October 8 / 12:00pm
Contemporary Talks

BLDGS Talk + Tour

Presented by Atlanta Design Festival

Grab a coffee and explore the historical Atlanta Contemporary building with the BLDGS, the architecture group behind the 2013 renovation of the galleries. This tour is part of the Atlanta Design Festival tour series with MA! Architecture Tours.

October 12 / 10:00am
Contemporary Off-Site

Callanwolde Gallery Tour

Members Only


Members will tour the fine art gallery located at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.

October 13 / 6:00pm
Contemporary Talks

Andres Serrano’s Insurrection


Atlanta Contemporary hosts a screening of Insurrection, followed by a Q+A with the filmmaker, Andres Serrano.

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